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Valley Meadows will remain open landlord says

by Sharon Carter

Regardless of what Carson-Tahoe Hospital does, Valley Meadows will remain open, David Pumphrey, a managing partner of the nursing home’s landlord, PDQ Investments, said Monday.

“At a time when several other local nursing homes have real problems, Valley Meadows has been getting an excellent bill of health (from state inspectors),” Pumphrey said. “It has an excellent administrator and staff – many of them came here from other local nursing homes. The bottom line is, Valley Meadows won’t close.”

Pumphrey, a former Douglas County commissioner, was addressing concerns raised when C-TH trustees directed hospital administrator Steve Smith to make plans and preparations to cut the Carson City-owned hospital system’s losses in the Carson Valley – particularly those at the 110-bed Gardnerville Ranchos facility, formerly known as the Cottonwood Care Center.

Reports from the public hospital system, which began operating the nursing home four years ago, show it has lost up to $60,000 per month at Valley Meadows Rehabilitation and Sub-Acute Care Center.

“We are considering several alternatives, including partnering with the employees to operate Valley Meadows,” Pumphrey said. “Six different nursing home operators initially made inquiries when they heard it might be for sale. At least three of them are still interested. But, no matter what, Valley Meadows will stay open.”

n Partnership. Pumphrey said he plans to meet with a potential buyer later this week. But, he said, as a contingency plan, he and Valley Meadows administrator Jim Heinzen have also researched the process by which the employees at the nursing home and PDQ could form a partnership to operate the facility.

“The hospital itself proposed that employees establish a partnership with someone else to take over the facility through an ESOP (employee stock ownership program) or something similar,” Pumphrey said.

He said Smith will ask the C-TH board of trustees’ attorney Mike Pavlakis to draft a document saying that PDQ (and the Valley Meadows employees) will run the facility.

“We have contacted the Medicare/Medicaid people to see what it would take to do it,” Pumphrey said. “And I’ve asked the state to advise us of any complications if we (PDQ) are part of the operation as well as landlords. We want to make sure there are no issues.”

One problem, Pumphrey said, is that since the March 11 hospital board meeting and reports surfaced that the hospital planned to remove itself from Valley Meadows, hospital discharge planners throughout the area have been wary of placing patients there, fearing they would have to be moved within a few months.

He said the reports and rumors have also troubled families who have loved ones at Valley Meadows.

“Moving sick people takes a heavy toll on them; the mortality rate is incredibly high,” Pumphrey said. “Closing the nursing home and moving patients is not an option – that impact is not something I or my partners, who are also members of this community, want to live with.

“We have an altruistic motive – and it includes employment stability for the staff as well as (concern for) the patients whose health depends on the facility. And there’s our economic interest. We believe that if it’s properly managed, Valley Meadows is economically feasible.”